CamT's build thread

Cam, that succa looks bad ass. The green plastic dip looks great. Happy that you have finished your build and are now getting to enjoy her. Congratulations bro.
 

Cam

Active Member
Thanks guys - yep, it's an odd feeling getting so much attention.

Today was a pretty fun day - I took the car down to Excelsior Motorsports in Escondido for an engine tune. The weather was super dicey (raining) and I haven't installed my side windows yet which made for some hemming and hawing from me. I debated canceling the appointment but decided I would roll the dice and hope the car could outrun the rain. Lucky for me, it did! ;)



Excelsior Motorsports uses a Mainline ProHub dyno - it's one where the dyno is hooked up to the drive axles via your wheel studs. The rear wheels are removed entirely for the tuning process. This type of dyno has been labeled the "heartbreak dyno" because they typically report numbers lower than you'd see on a DynoJet dyno. I asked Kushan, the owner of Excelsior, to hook me up with a solid street tune and idle. I wasn't gunning for peak horsepower numbers.

We had some difficulties trying to get the ECU to respond. Apparently if you're running an Aim dash it will draw too much current from the CAN signal and cause the OBD2 port to shut down. After about an hour of trying to diagnose the issue I got desperate and called Allan. Of course Allan had seen this before and suggested I yank the dash. Yep, that did it!

We got the car on the dyno and Kushan started doing his thing.







It turns out the factory GM tune runs the car pretty lean - at about 14 AFR. From what I've gathered these engines like to run closer to 12.9-13.1. Kushan adjusted my fueling and played around with the idle. He also discovered there were a number of settings in the ECU that were left off (that would normally be on). So he basically went through the entire ECM and cleaned things up.

Here are my heartbreak numbers:


Before: 424.7 hp / 345.1 ft-lb
After: 448.8 hp / 364.4 ft-lb

I'm pretty pumped with how things went. I feel much more confident getting into the power now, knowing my fueling has been corrected and idle behavior seems improved. On that note - Kushan did note he thought my MAF sensor was a bit too close to the air filter and that it might be a reason for unsteady idle.

As always, more discussion and photos on my blog.

56. The heartbreak effect
 

Cam

Active Member
A few days ago I tried to get my AC system charged. Unfortunately I had a couple of loud blowing leaks when the system got pressure tested. I returned today for another run at bat. Thankfully the system held tight and I was able to get it charged.

The new issue I discovered today is there's a wiring problem that's causing my AC compressor to not engage. We had to manually bypass my wiring to get the compressor to cycle.

That's an issue to be tackled tomorrow - for now at least the system's been pressurized and it blows cold air!

My father in law told me there'd be a good bit of teething for every project car - so it looks like my SLC is growing teeth. Let the fun begin!

Car opened back up to hunt down AC leaks:



I had to fish this line out from the depths of my engine bay to re-crimp the line. Seems like I had an issue with crimping my #8 lines when I originally installed the system.



Thanks to the folks at Kirk's Radiator in El Cajon for working through my issues and getting the system charged.



Pro tip: Verify your AC system is working correctly BEFORE installing your spider!

More discussion and photos on my blog:

57. Let the teething issues begin!
 

PeteB

Gold Supporter
Cam, the Vintage Air system works on a much lower pressure than a normal A/C system, so make sure you didn't overcharge it. I thought I had a wiring problem with mine when I first filled it, but it turned out I had overcharged the system.

Question about your Aim MXS Strata - does it have an odometer on it? I'm thinking about buying one for my Lotus, but I don't see anything in the documentation about an odometer feature.
 

Cam

Active Member
Thanks Pete!

So interesting discoveries today. I opened up the front and started tracing my trinary switch wiring but all seemed good. I was going to do a pressure test as Pete suggested and as I was about to, I tried cycling my heater control valve just to make sure it was fully closed - no response. Hmm ... interesting.

I have a toggle switch that directs power either to my AC temp knob or my heater temp knob. It appears I had the wiring reversed and my AC position was controlling my heater valve and my heater position was controlling my AC clutch. When I flipped it over to heat the AC clutch kicked in and cold air started blowing.

SUCCESS! it was only short lived. After running the car for a few minutes I shut it down to button things up again. Shortly after killing my ignition I heard a hiss coming from somewhere near the front. Turns out I had a leak coming from one of my #6 lines, located inside my foot box! Something must have shifted because it went from tight to blowing gushing leak.

I blew my charge out all over the foot box.

I did some human pretzel work to get down into the foot box and removed the line, re-crimped it, and now I’ve got the system under vacuum for another test. It’s been holding steady for a half hour now but I’ll give it a few more hours before I try charging it again.

Le sigh ....
 
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Cam

Active Member
Well, another short lived success. I lost 2” of vacuum after a few hours. We’re going to pull every line and re-crimp. It seems to be the trick on the earlier fittings.

I’m using a crimper that has 2 opposing jaws. You turn a screw down and that draws the upper jaw down into the lower. Each jaw holds a set of dies.

I distinctly recall when I crimped my lines I was very careful to only go down to the indicated line, I didn’t try to get a little extra. On these re-crimps I’ve been going down to the line then giving it a bit more. I suspect the line on our tool is on the edge of what’s needed to get a tight seal. My new crimps don’t look excessively deformed.

After we re-crimp everything we’re going to load in a charge with UV in case there’s another leak we’ve missed. We’ll also replace o-rings and lube everything before re-assembly.

So if you’re on the fence about any of your crimps I’d say give it a little more.
 
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Cam

Active Member
Not sure Roger. I did note that some of my crimps didn’t look like they deformed equally on both sides. I turned the fitting 180deg and re-crimped but the less deformed side remained less deformed. I didn’t try doing a 90 because I didn’t want to risk totally blowing the fitting. When the crimp crushes down it pooches further on the sides and I didn’t want to risk unloading my crimp by turning it 90.
 

Cam

Active Member
SUCCESS, my AC is now blowing cold air! I pulled the rest of the system apart (except for the #10 line at the footbox bulkhead) and re-crimped everything. I think the crimp indicator on our tool must just be on the edge of giving a robust seal. I gave it maybe another half turn past the indicated line on the second go-around and that fixed the leak(s). I did load the new charge with one that has a UV dye mixed in so I can more easily find leaks should they crop up in the future. I'm happy to say the initial cycles and inspections revealed no leak!

For the sake of completeness I updated my blog with the solution to my AC dilemmas.

58. That didn't go as planned ...
 
My Racepack IQ3 had the same issue in that I could not have it hooked up to the GM Can and use the OBDII port. Ended up putting in a switch to kill the dash when needed.
 

Cam

Active Member
Frank - damn good idea, wish I'd known that before I buttoned up the wiring ;). I think I can kill my dash by pulling its wire from my fuse block. I spent an hour at the tuner's frantically trying to figure out how I'd messed up the wiring harness when Allan swooped in and saved the day. I was getting ready to call it quits and head back home!

I went and had my side windows tinted a while back but I'm only now getting around to installing them. I brought my windows to Ryan over at RDA auto glass in La Mesa. Ryan took one look at the windows and said it couldn't be done - echoing what I'd heard from others. After a bit of conversation it seemed like he was up for the challenge and said he'd give it a shot.

After a very long night of working on the windows I got a text the next day saying the windows were done. When I went down to pick them up they looked pretty sweet. I went with 35% opacity ceramic tint. RDA had a cool working display showing the difference between standard and ceramic tint - the ceramic stuff was about 77% more efficient at blocking heat energy than the standard stuff. A pretty convincing demo, for sure.

I recently went for a ~60 mile drive without windows and in that time I literally burnt the side of my face from sun exposure. With the windows in place the cabin is so much quieter and the heat intrusion is basically zero. There's still a fair amount of high frequency echo in the cabin but that's because there's nothing but hard surfaces. Throwing a layer of carpet on the rear bulkhead would do a ton to knock this down but then what's the point of a carbon tub? Vanity has its price.

AC, tinted windows, and a TON of sound and heat blockers makes the SLC cabin a fairly comfortable experience despite being in essentially a very large enclosed go-kart.



More pics and details over on the blog:

59. They said it couldn't be done ...
 

Cam

Active Member
Unfortunately I have to eat a little humble pie today.

A long while ago Alex had commented that the residual valves supplied with the SLC are junk. He didn't go into details and my valves tested OK before I installed them so I went ahead and built the car with the original residual valves. Both my valves had the arrow pointing in the direction opposite of fluid flow (maybe they're supposed to indicate the direction of the MC?). Maybe that should have been the tip off ...

I installed them in locations that would be relatively easy to get to should I need to pull them. Well ... guess what?

I was tooling around town returning the vacuum pump I'd borrowed from my AC adventures the day before when I could feel my rear brakes starting to drag. The drag seemed to get stronger, eventually I could basically come to a complete stop from ~10mph if I threw the trans into neutral without touching the brake pedal. Not good ... I beelined it back to my father-in-law's garage so I could see what was going on - luckily I wasn't too far away.

By the time I pulled into the garage I could literally hear the fluid in my rear calipers boiling.

I Amazon Prime'd myself a new set of Wilwood 2lb residual valves for the next day. The new valves are slightly shorter than the ones supplied with the car but I had enough slack in the lines that I could make it work for the rears. For the front, I made a new jumper, no biggie.



I was worried I'd totally shot my pads and rotors - the rotor was looking pretty gnarly.



I took a pad sander and some 80 grit to the rotors, hopefully I didn't glaze them too badly.

With the new residual valves installed, today braking returned to normal and it doesn't seem like I've lost any braking efficiency - got lucky there!

The residual valves were working just fine for the first ~150 mile or so. I'm really fortunate this failure occurred while I was relatively close to home. Much further and I'd have just called for a tow (I probably should have anyway).
 
Ya....change fluid if it looks different (darker) than new fluid. Take a sample at the hot caliper bleed port. Bleeding it all out of the calipers may be enough. Keep going until the fluid goes to normal color.
 

Cam

Active Member
Interesting. Thanks for the report.
Did you bleed out the old fluid?
Ya....change fluid if it looks different (darker) than new fluid. Take a sample at the hot caliper bleed port. Bleeding it all out of the calipers may be enough. Keep going until the fluid goes to normal color.
I went ahead and flushed the entire system just to be sure. None of the fluid looked darker than new but I didn't want to take any chances.

Took it for another shakedown drive today and the brakes no longer drag. I'm still getting a fair bit of brake squeal, not sure if it's just how these brakes are or if I've glazed the pads - stopping power seems unaffected. I put a healthy dose of the brake squeal goop the last time I had the pads out but that doesn't seem to have done much. I know GM put the "roller skates" onto the pads to help quiet them down and those extra weights have been machined off our pads. The squeal doesn't seem to be temperature related; light braking = squeal, hard brake = no squeal, or at least less to none.
 

Alex

Active Member
Unfortunately I have to eat a little humble pie today.

A long while ago Alex had commented that the residual valves supplied with the SLC are junk. He didn't go into details and my valves tested OK before I installed them so I went ahead and built the car with the original residual valves. Both my valves had the arrow pointing in the direction opposite of fluid flow (maybe they're supposed to indicate the direction of the MC?). Maybe that should have been the tip off ...
.
:)

Hopefully you replaced the remote Wilwood reservoirs with the 3 piece Tilton reservoir along the way. Otherwise guess what next part I'm going to tell you is junk :D
 
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